So you’re back for more, are you? This is Part II of a series taking you through all the planning and happenings of our relaxed, outdoor wedding on Salt Spring Island, in the Gulf Islands of BC, Canada.
If you missed the first post, you can go back and catch up with all the matrimonial awesomeness in Part I here. After that, come back and carry on where we left off, getting married with our quirky little wedding ceremony.
The Outdoor Wedding Ceremony
We had my baby niece and nephew carried down the grass aisle to toss flower petals as the “flower babies”. My older nephew carried a ring pillow with a sea star attached on top, which the rings were slipped onto the arms of the star, with a couple stitches to keep the rings safe on the pillow that could be broken easily when it came time to take them off. Funny story to come about this after.
Our Wedding Songs
We chose three wedding songs to play. As my bridesmaids, flower babies, and ring bearer walked down the grass carpet from the house to the ceremony spot, we played “Any Day Now” by Jon and Roy, one of our favourite bands who we’ve enjoyed dancing to at festivals. When it came time for my surprisingly anxious self to be walked down the aisle by my Dad, we played “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles. It was the perfect wedding song for walking down the aisle.
Instead of hiring a Justice of the Peace to perform the ceremony, we had a dear friend perform our ceremony, and had the JP there to sign the papers at the end. She made a beautiful introduction, read a Cree Wedding Blessing that we fell in love with, and led us through our vows. We wrote the vows ourselves, from bits and pieces we liked from other vows we came across and our own words. Our friend copied them down in a beautiful leather-bound notebook and read them from there during the ceremony, giving us the book to keep after.
Here are the unique wedding vows we worked out:
I call on those present to witness that I, ________, take _________ to be my lawful wedded (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, in whatever circumstances or experiences life may hold for us. _______, I promise to be your faithful lover and companion, your ally in conflict, your greatest fan and your best friend, your comrade in adventure, your student and your teacher, your consolation in disappointment, your accomplice in mischief, your strength in your need, and most of all, your partner in life.
Short and sweet, but covers it all. The part about being an accomplice in mischief seemed to be especially well-liked by everyone. Marriage doesn’t mean the fun has to end, ladies and gentlemen, am I right?
The Great Wedding Ring Mystery
So, here’s the funny story. When it came time for the rings to be put on, I went to grasp the ring being handed to me and said “That’s not the ring”. Everyone laughed, thinking I was being funny, instead of actually being quite confused. That wasn’t the ring. My new hubby whispered “Just go with it”, so we did and carried on until the ceremony was over. We kissed, signed the papers, and walked down the aisle to “Homemade Shirts”, another Jon and Roy song, under a barrage of beautiful flower petals thrown by our loved ones.
When we were all done, it was explained to us that my hubby’s ring had gone missing at some point between the grass walkway and the ceremony site. It’s still quite a mystery about what happened, as all the guests were down with their noses to the grass combing the area after the ceremony, and a couple weeks of trying different metal detectors turned up nothing.
Every time I’m in that spot, I still look on the ground and imagine that one day it may turn up somewhere. We had two different rings passed on to my hubby sized for him, so it wasn’t really a big deal as he could wear the other one (which he doesn’t, but we’re past that – not safe for his job). Still, it made for an interesting story that people always bring up when we talk about our wedding.
The Reception Dinner
We looked around a bit to find a caterer that was within our budget and could provide the food we wanted. Not living on Salt Spring yet, we didn’t have all the information we have now, and ended up hiring a caterer from Victoria. Even with ferry costs, this ended up being cheaper than the few caterers on-island we had looked into. That being said, I would have preferred to find a local caterer to give our business to. Any suggestions for future wedding caterers on Salt Spring Island?
Here’s a special bonus tip on planning a wedding: When contacting services, never mention it’s for a wedding. The cost shoots way up when you say “wedding”. Instead we learned to say “an outdoor barbecue celebration”. Muah hahaha.
The Wedding Cake
My lovely baking-genius friend, Amanda, made the most exquisite cupcakes for our wedding, in lieu of a traditional cake. We had chocolate and carrot cake varieties, and they were the most amazing cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. I DIY-ed some cupcake wrappers from the same scrapbook paper I made the flags from, and we displayed them on a cupcake tier that my Father-in-Law made from stumps and cuttings from the trees off the property. We added a bunch of flowers here and there to decorate the cupcake display, and it turned out so beautifully.
The Wedding Photography
You’re probably wondering who took all these stunning photos of our special day. Billie Woods of Billie Woods Photography is a fantastic local Salt Spring Island photographer (as well as extremely talented musician, knitter, traveler, and on and on and on) who we came across in our search for a wedding photographer. I’m so glad we found her, as she’s become a good friend now and has shot many other important moments in our life together since.
On Billie’s website, I noticed mention of a wedding photo booth option, and thought this would be amazing. We planned to set it up and Billie helped us to acquire an antique couch which set the stage with a few other props we gathered for a phenomenal photo booth. I used one of the pieces of cupboard I scavenged to make a chalkboard which could be written on for photobooth use. Our guests were great sports (as expected) and made a lot of use of this photo booth. We got a ton of fantastic shots from this, and used them in our wedding scrap book, as well as printing them out to send one as a Thank You card to each of our guests after the event.
The Lawn Games
We wanted our guests to relax, have fun, and get to know each other. What a better way to do that at an outdoor wedding than with a selection of lawn games? As soon as the ceremony was over, we invited our guests to take part in Bocce Ball, Croquet, Washers, and Neglin. The directional pole (which I showed you in Part I of this wedding post series) pointed the way to each area the games were set up in, at at each site we had set out printed instructions I had written up to help newbies figure out the games. Neglin was by far the favourite, and we were delighted to see all our guests laughing and mingling as they played all the different outdoor games.
If you’d like to set up these games at your own outdoor wedding or backyard party, I’ve turned the file into a printable PDF file just for you. Enjoy! Here it is: Outdoor Wedding Lawn Games Directions
The Wedding Speeches
We wanted to give our guests a chance to say what they wanted to and about us, and wish us well on our wedding day. Keeping with the relaxed wedding theme, we didn’t organize any set speeches, but had our MC (my lovely bridesmaid Amanda) say a little something and open up the floor to whoever wanted to speak up. We were both awed at the many wonderful things all of our friends and family had to say, and I will forever remember how their words touched my heart (and made us all laugh uncontrollably).
The Garter & Bouquet Toss
This is one of the few areas that we decided to stick with the wedding traditions (no first dance, no cake cutting, etc). I’m so glad our awesome photographer was around to snap these shots because, with our quirky and awesome friends and family about, the tosses ended up being amazing spectacles. Both groups eagerly (perhaps even aggressively) readied themselves for the tosses, then leaped at the chance to grab the garter or the bouquet. There was lots of laughter, and even an injury or two.
I’ll remind you again that we were on a tight budget and tried to be as thrifty as possible. We also have particular musical tastes, and wanted to play some of our favourites, so we made up different playlists (ceremony, afternoon fun, dinner, and dancing) and hooked up an iPod to the speaker system we rented (again, the details are in Part I of this series). This worked out beautifully, except when it came time for the dancing. It turns out our music choices weren’t calling in the masses to bust a move, so my bridesmaids stepped in to tell me it wasn’t going to work with the playlist we made. I told them I was happy if they took over, so they hooked up some of their tunes and the party got started.
The dancing was another favourite part of the day (although all the parts went swimmingly), and grooving along with our favourite people was a party to remember. Some of us kicked off our shoes and danced barefoot (hello, Salt Spring style), while other rowdy members made up crazy dance moves. There may or may not have been some accidental liquor-bottle smashings on the dance floor, which may or may not have led to me picking little pieces of glass out of my feet for the next couple days, but it was all well worth it.
The Ride Home
To make sure all our guests could enjoy them selves and not have to worry about driving home on our little island with sparse taxi-service and limited (or no) public transit that late at night, we hired a friend of the family to shuttle our guests home at the end of the night. This worked out really well, was a reasonable expense, and is something I would definitely recommend if you’re in a similar situation.
So that was our beautiful outdoor wedding. I’ll remember it always and forever wish I could relive our celebration over and over again. Hopefully there is something you can take from all of these pieces of our day to help you in your planning, if you’re working on making your own outdoor wedding a smashing success. Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions or comments, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, too.
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